With the Sept. 30 deadline approaching for the pullout of African Union troops in the Darfur region of Sudan, the Sudan government continues to resist a UN peacekeeping force.
If the AU soldiers leave and not replaced with peacekeepers, people will be slaughtered.
Senators Barack Obama --who recently visited a refugee camp with people who fled to Chad to escape violence in Darfur--Dick Durbin and Sam Brownback called a meeting Friday to ask envoys from three African nations to apply pressure on Sudan. The Sudan government refuses to allow UN troops in the country.
The UN refuses to send soldiers without the Sudan government approval. President Bush--who will be at the UN in New York next week--suggested that the UN vote to send soldiers in without Sudan permission in order to prevent a genocide.
As the prospects of the U.S. sending a special envoy remain unclear. Obama said earlier in the week he was going to contact former Sec. of State Colin Powell and former Pres. Clinton--figures respected by African leaders--to ask them to personally intervene.
Durbin, Obama, Brownback, Sen. Russ Feingold, Sen. Carl Levin and senior staff for Sen. Ted Kennedy
and Sen. Arlen Specter.
Egyptian Ambassador, South African Deputy Chief of Mission and the
Next Steps as a result of the meeting:
1. Members will reach out to African Union as a whole asking that
they extend their presence until a UN force is in place.
2. Members recognize the importance of a sustained
commitment for AU mission and will work to ensure that there is adequate
3. Diplomats are going to provide their recommendations to the
Senators about what is needed in terms of resources in the near future.
(500TH blog entry since founding feb., 2006)
from Pelosi's office............
Pelosi and Bipartisan Group to President: Now Is the Time to Act to Stop Genocide in Darfur
Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Members from both parties active on the crisis in Darfur sent the following letter to President Bush today urging him call special attention to Darfur when he addresses the United Nations on Tuesday and appoint a special envoy on Sudan.
Below is the text of the letter:
September 15, 2006
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As we have done several times over the last few years, we write to you with profound concern over the increasingly dire humanitarian crisis and worsening genocide in Darfur. The United States simply cannot stand by while the government of Sudan continues its campaign of terror and atrocities against innocent civilians. We urge you to use your speech at the United Nations on Tuesday to call special attention to Darfur and the need for the international community to take immediate, decisive action to end the genocide.
The situation in Darfur has dramatically deteriorated over the last several weeks. In direct violation of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) and numerous UN Security Council resolutions, Khartoum has begun to deploy some 26,000 troops to the Darfur region. This has coincided with a sharp increase in attacks on civilians and humanitarian aid workers, renewed aerial bombardment, and the all but complete deterioration of the fragile DPA.
The member states of the United Nations have simply not done enough to stop the brutal violence that has occurred in Darfur in the past three years. We urge you to call publicly for full implementation of all UN resolutions on Darfur, and for all member states, particularly Russia and China with considerable influence in Khartoum, to do more.
As the international community debates whether or not an international force, in addition to that already deployed by the African Union in Darfur and by the UN in other parts of Sudan, can be deployed without the consent of the Sudanese government, we hope you will cite as examples the intervention of international forces in the 1990's in Africa and Europe. We do not believe the approval of those who have allowed genocide to occur in Darfur is necessary before other nations intercede to bring it to an end.
We would also ask that you use your influence to urge the African Union to renew its mandate until a UN force can take over. The United States should take a leadership role in ensuring that the AU force is properly supplied and equipped. The prospect of leaving a void is a clear recipe for disaster.
Finally, we ask that you immediately appoint a special envoy on Sudan. Now, more than ever, a person with a robust mandate and direct access to you is needed to demonstrate the priority the United States attaches to ending the genocide quickly.
We would like to request a meeting in the coming days to further discuss possible US responses to this emergency. The people of Darfur have suffered for far too long. After each genocide of the last century, Rwanda being the most recent, we vowed "never again." Yet we have become witness to another genocide. Now is the time to act.
Nancy Pelosi Donald Payne
House Democratic Leader Member of Congress
Tom Lantos James Clyburn
Ranking Member Chairman
International Relations Committee House Democratic Caucus
Charles Rangel George Miller
Ranking Member Ranking Member
Ways and Means Committee Education and Workforce
Carolyn Kilpatrick Barbara Lee
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Mel Watt Frank Wolf
Chairman Member of Congress
Congressional Black Caucus
Maxine Waters Michael Capuano
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Jan Schakowsky Tom Tancredo
Member of Congress Member of Congress
# # #
from a press release sent by Durbin's office....
Durbin, Obama and Brownback Convene Meeting
with African Leaders on Darfur;
Say Peacekeeping Mission Must be Extended and Expanded
[Washington, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) convened a meeting with members of the African diplomatic corps to discuss the urgent need to extend the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and to deploy United Nations peacekeepers as quickly as possible. Representatives from Egypt, Ghana and South Africa attended the meeting with Durbin, Obama, Brownback and Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Russ Feingold (D-WI).
“Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died in Darfur, women have been raped, children have been brutalized in untold numbers and two and a half million people are displaced,��? Senator Durbin said. “The world cannot stand idly by while this genocide continues and escalates. The world has condemned the murder and violence in Darfur, but now we must act to stop it.��?
“Paralysis in the face of genocide is wrong, and with so many lives already lost, we have a moral obligation to prevent more death in Darfur,��? Senator Obama said. “We must ensure that the African Union forces can continue to protect the people of Darfur until at least the end of the year, and begin to lay the groundwork for a lasting solution in the region, two goals that I hope can be achieved at next week’s meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council.��?
“The situation in Darfur is getting worse with each passing day,��? Senator Brownback said. “Twelve humanitarian relief workers have been killed in the last two months, aid organizations can’t reach 60% of the displaced people they once served, and the violence continues to escalate. We must act now to stop the genocide in Darfur by supporting the African Union Mission in Sudan and paving the way for the United Nations to deploy peacekeepers to the region.��?
In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of additional people in the region have been displaced; humanitarian organizations on the ground estimate that they can only reach about 60% of those in need of assistance. Reports indicate that the Khartoum government is once again stepping up its military campaign in Darfur and that rebel groups have been preparing for combat operations, dramatically increasing the possibility of a humanitarian catastrophe and the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. The African Union mission is currently set to expire at the end of the month. All present at the meeting agreed that it is imperative to extend the mission.
The Senators noted that the African Union alone cannot be responsible for stopping the genocide in Darfur and that United Nations peacekeepers represent the best hope for containing and ending the bloodshed in the region.